Having your work published is something that you can feasibly do yourself. Whether this means creating your own zine, blogging or having your work printed & bound in hard copy is entirely up to you. Here are some things to think about before you head to the press.
How will you publish your work?
Setting up a website is a great way to publish fresh examples of your work, advertise new developments and still keep a thorough catalogue of all your previous work. Having a blog is another cost-free option to have an online presence.
While the online world is a fantastic way to display your work and build your profile, hard-copy publications are a tangible and sometimes a more memorable and distinctive way to distribute your work. When weighing up your options, consider what may be best received by your business stakeholders (including your target audiences), and what is feasible given your resources.
How will you fund your work?
Publishing your own work can be expensive, depending on the medium. Your budget will determine whether you can publish a book of your work, if you’ll be starting out with a handmade zine or developing a website or blog.
To fund a self-produced project you might look for grant money, sponsorship or in-kind support. Alternatively, you may charge entrance fees or offer paid workshops – to find out more about funding head to the Growing Money on Trees chapter from page 17.
What is your distribution strategy?
The format in which you choose to publish your work will affect distribution locations and the reach of your work.
Consider the following when making your decision:
Where do you want to distribute? Locally, nationally or internationally?
Where are your target audiences located? Which medium will best reach them?
Where would you like your work to be available? Hard copy publications can be placed in stores or for sale online, whereas digital copies are destined for online use only.
Who will accept your work? Speak to local stores and zine collectives that may be willing to stock your work. Once you figure out who is willing to take your work you can plan your distribution appropriately.
How costly will your distribution strategy be? If you are planning on sending hard copies out via post, make sure you factor in delivery costs.
What will you charge for your work?
The cost of your product will most likely depend on the intent behind your publication. Are you simply trying to promote your work and find new audiences or do you need to generate income to offset your costs?
If you choose to sell your work, check out page 34, in The Perfect Mix, for some pricing tips.
Self-publishing is hard work but it will give you the opportunity to be in control of your work and prevent you from being at the mercy of editors. Start off small and see where it takes you!